Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA



Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective

June 10, 2000 - September 3, 2000


The Legion of Honor celebrates the 80th birthday of American figurative painter Wayne Thiebaud with his first major retrospective in nearly two decades. "Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective brings together 100 of the California artist's major oil paintings,watercolors, and pastels, drawn from numerous public and private collections. This exhibition forms the most comprehensive overview of Thiebaud's lengthy career ever presented, tracing his work as a painter from the 1950s, when he first began to emerge as a nationally-known artist, to the present day, as he continues his painting with great vigor and inventiveness.

Included on display are works from the private collections of the Thiebaud family, and thematic groups that have rarely, if ever, been publicly exhibited. After its run in San Francisco, "Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective" will travel to Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., and New York City. (left: Star Pinball, 1962, oil on canvas, 60 x 36 inches, Private collection)

Often associated with the so-called "Pop Art" movement of the 1960s, Thiebaud is perhaps best known for his wry yet carefully studied still-lifes of commonplace objects, such as cakes, slices of pie, sandwiches, clothing, and household goods. Thiebaud is also well-known for his stylized, plunging San Francisco cityscapes, and his more recent landscapes inspired by the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sacramento Valley, and the Sierra foothills.

Approaching his subjects with his signature, "Californian" style, featuring an intensity of light and color and rich paint handling, Thiebaud strikes a delicate balance between realism and abstraction that gives his works a strongly personal character. (right: Cakes, 1963, oil on canvas, 60 x 72 inches, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

Wayne Thiebaud was born in Mesa, Arizona in 1920, and has spent most of his life in California. His artistic leanings were originally inspired by cartoons such as George Herriman's "Krazy Kat." Thiebaud worked as cartoonist, poster designer, commercial artist and even, for a brief time, as a Disney animator before eventually deciding to become a painter.

Thiebaud's formal art training was undertaken under the GI Bill at San Jose State College and the California State College in Sacramento. He received a teaching appointment at Sacramento Junior College in 1951 while still in graduate school, and since then has continued to teach, since 1960, at the University of California in Davis. (right: Waterland, 1996, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches, Private collection)

"Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective" is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and curated by FAMSF Associate Director and Chief Curator Dr. Steven A. Nash. Funding has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency. All images Copyright ©Wayne Thiebaud/Vaga, NY

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